• Olympic: Three Parks in One


    National Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Madison Falls Trail Closed for Repairs Beginning July 7

    The one-tenth mile Madison Falls Trail and trailhead parking lot located in Elwha Valley will close to public entry beginning on Monday, July 7 while crews make improvements and repairs.

  • Spruce Railroad Trail Improvements to Begin August 5

    Spruce Railroad Trail will be closed from the Lyre River TH to approximately 0.25 miles east of Devil’s Punchbowl. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. The remainder of the trail will be accessible from the Camp David Jr. Road TH. More »

  • Safety Advisory: Mountain Goats

    NPS has received reports of aggressive mountain goats near trails at Hurricane Ridge, Royal Basin, Seven Lakes Basin, Lake of the Angeles, & Grand Pass. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 50 yards from all wildlife. More »

  • Safety Advisory: Rabies

    Rabies has been detected in a single bat in the Lake Crescent area of the park. Rabies exposure is extremely rare, but fatal if untreated. Anyone observing unusual or aggressive behavior among park wildlife should inform a park ranger as soon as possible. More »

English Ivy

English ivy

The leaves on this tree-climbing
English ivy are five-lobed.

NPS Exotic Plant
Management Team

Hedera helix

Although some people enjoy the look of buildings covered with English ivy, this plant can actually harm structures by loosening bricks and native ecosystems by smothering trees. This evergreen climbing vine engulfs whatever is in its path, including shrubs, buildings, or old-growth forest.


English ivy is an evergreen, creeping or climbing vine with aerial roots. It attaches to tree bark, walls, or other surfaces with its sticky roots. Old vines can grow as large as one foot in diameter, but most vines are usually much thinner. Leaves are leathery to waxy and dark green with pale or white markings. Usually the alternate leaves are three to five lobed, but leaves on mature sun-exposed stems can be un-lobed and rounded. Small autumn flowers become small black berries. It can take ten years to flower. The leaves and berries of English ivy are toxic to humans if ingested, but are eaten and spread by birds.

English ivy

This low-growing English ivy has
nearly rounded five-pointed leaves.

NPS Exotic Plant Management Team

How is it spreading and where?

English ivy is a cultivated European vine, originally from Eurasia and North Africa. It seeds are easily spread by birds. Its aerial roots climb onto native trees (or onto buildings) and can climb up to 35 feet or more. It can engulf anything it can climb over and smothers small plants or whole trees. Its most troublesome aspect is that it can grow in undisturbed ground and is shade tolerant. This means it can grow and thrive in even old-growth forest.

It is found in various places in Olympic National Park, mostly coastal areas.

English Ivy

Mature English ivy can produce berries
and have leaves with smooth rounded edges.

NPS Exotic Plant Management Team

Control in Olympic:

The easiest treatment of English ivy is hand-pulling. To help revive smothered trees, the strangling ivy vines are simply cut near the ground. While hand-pulling, the vine is followed back to its primary root and carefully removed completely. Herbicides are also used.

For more information, see Weed Resources.

Back to Invasive Plants

Did You Know?

DYK fisher release

Fishers (members of the weasel family, related to minks and otters) were reintroduced to Olympic National Park in 2008-10. They are native to the forests of Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula, but disappeared due to overtrapping in the late 1800s/early 1900s and habitat loss.